|Studio album by|
|Released||April 9, 1969|
|Recorded||February 12–21, 1969|
|Genre||Country rock, country|
|Bob Dylan chronology|
|Singles from Nashville Skyline|
Building on the rustic style he experimented with on John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline displayed a complete immersion into country music. Along with the more basic lyrical themes, simple songwriting structures, and charming domestic feel, it introduced audiences to a radically new singing voice from Dylan, who had temporarily quit smoking—a soft, affected country croon.
The result received a generally positive reaction from critics, and was a commercial success. Reaching No. 3 in the U.S., the album also scored Dylan his fourth UK No. 1 album.
By the time Nashville Skyline was recorded, the political climate in the United States had grown more polarized. In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy (a leading candidate for the presidency) were assassinated. Riots broke out in several major cities, including a major one surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and racially motivated conflagrations spurred by King's assassination. A new president, Richard Nixon, was sworn into office in January 1969, but the U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia, particularly the Vietnam War, would continue for several years. Protests over a wide range of political topics became more frequent. Dylan had been a leading cultural figure, noted for political and social commentary throughout the 1960s. Even as he moved away from topical songs, he never lost his cultural stature. However, as Clinton Heylin wrote of Nashville Skyline, "If Dylan was concerned about retaining a hold on the rock constituency, making albums with Johnny Cash in Nashville was tantamount to abdication in many eyes."
"Our generation owes him our artistic lives," observed Kris Kristofferson, who later sang with Cash in The Highwaymen, "because he opened all the doors in Nashville when he did Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline. The country scene was so conservative until he arrived. He brought in a whole new audience. He changed the way people thought about it – even the Grand Ole Opry was never the same again."
Helped by a promotional appearance on The Johnny Cash Show on June 7, Nashville Skyline went on to become one of Dylan's best-selling albums. Three singles were pulled from it, all of which received significant airplay on AM radio.
|Retrospective professional reviews|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Despite the dramatic, commercial shift in direction, the press also gave Nashville Skyline a warm reception. A critic for Newsweek wrote of "the great charm... and the ways Dylan, both as composer and performer, has found to exploit subtle differences on a deliberately limited emotional and verbal scale." In Rolling Stone, Paul Nelson wrote, "Nashville Skyline achieves the artistically impossible: a deep, humane, and interesting statement about being happy. It could well be... his best album." However, Nelson would reconsider his opinion in a review for Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II less than three years later, writing, "I was misinformed. That's why no one should pay any attention to critics, especially the artist." In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau argued that "the beauty of the album" was in the "totally undemanding" and "one-dimensional" quality of the songs, believing Dylan had toyed with the public's expectations again by embracing a country tenor voice and aesthetic. He later included it in his "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).
A few critics expressed some disappointment. Ed Ochs of Billboard wrote, "the satisfied man speaks in clichés, and blushes as if every day were Valentine's Day." Tim Souster of the BBC's The Listener magazine wrote, "One can't help feeling something is missing. Isn't this idyllic country landscape too good to be true?"
|1.||"Girl from the North Country" (duet with Johnny Cash)||3:41|
|2.||"Nashville Skyline Rag"||3:12|
|3.||"To Be Alone with You"||2:07|
|4.||"I Threw It All Away"||2:23|
|1.||"Lay Lady Lay"||3:18|
|2.||"One More Night"||2:23|
|3.||"Tell Me That It Isn't True"||2:41|
|5.||"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You"||3:23|
- Bob Dylan – guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vocals
- Norman Blake – guitar, dobro
- Kenneth A. Buttrey – drums
- Johnny Cash – vocals on "Girl from North Country"
- Fred Carter Jr. – guitar
- Charlie Daniels – bass guitar, guitar
- Pete Drake – pedal steel guitar
- Marshall Grant – bass guitar on "Girl from North Country"
- W. S. Holland – drums on "Girl from North Country"
- Charlie McCoy – guitar, harmonica
- Bob Wilson – organ, piano
- Bob Wootton – electric guitar on "Girl from North Country"
|1969||Cash Box Album Charts||3|
|1969||Record World Album Charts||1|
|1969||UK Top 75||1|
|1969||"I Threw it All Away"||Billboard Hot 100||85|
|1969||"I Threw it All Away"||UK Top 100||30|
|1969||"Lay Lady Lay"||Billboard Hot 100||7|
|1969||"Lay Lady Lay"||UK Top 75||5|
|1969||"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You"||Billboard Hot 100||50|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- "How Bob Dylan Found His New Voice on 'Nashville Skyline'". rollingstone.com.
- Heylin (2003), p. 301.
- Bell, Max: "Q&A: Kris Kristofferson"; Classic Rock #148, August 2010, p34
- "Nashville Skyline". AllMusic. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- Kot, Greg (October 25, 1992). "Dylan Through the Years: Hits and Misses". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 371. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York, NY: Fireside. p. 262. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved August 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- Quoted in Heylin (2003), p. 302.
- Nelson, Paul (May 31, 1969). "Records". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (34): 36. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- Nelson, Paul (January 6, 1972). "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Christgau, Robert (May 1969). "Obvious Believers". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved March 16, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Both quoted in Heylin (2003), p. 303.
- "Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". Discogs.
- "Bob Dylan – Chart history". www.billboard.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- "CASH BOX MAGAZINE: Archive of all issues from1942 to 1996". www.americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "RECORD WORLD MAGAZINE: 1942 to 1982". www.americanradiohistory.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- "Chart Stats – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- "Bob Dylan – Chart history". www.billboard.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- "I Threw it All Away UK Chart". officialcharts.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- "Lay Lady Lay – UK Charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- "Canadian album certifications – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". Music Canada. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
- "BPI Search". www.bpi.co.uk. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
- "British album certifications – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 18, 2017. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Nashville Skyline in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
- "American certifications". Recording Industry Association of America.